Not all vegetables are the best for a ketogenic way of living, and some keto vegetables are worse than others (despite being keto-friendly).
But what’s more important than that is knowing:
- Which vegetables are an absolute no-go.
- And how those vegetables rank on a scale.
So let’s do a ranking of the best and worst vegetables (known vegetables) for a keto lifestyle.
Some vegetables you can still have despite their status, it’s just wise NOT to do it on a daily basis.
Best and worst keto vegetables:
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, making it an even better product than regular cabbage. With high amounts of vitamin C, on top of good bacteria, it’s healthy food for the gut in particular.
The good bacteria also eats the sugar, making the sugar or carbs in this product close to 0 per serving.
Kimchi is fermented vegetables from South Korea. Onions, swede, and all kinds of vegetables are fermented in Kimchi to make it the product it is.
The main benefit is that good bacteria eat away the sugar, making this a better alternative for the vegetables that are fermented.
Classed as a vegetable but one from the sea. Seaweed is harder to get your hands on compared to regular veg, and takeaways and restaurants tend NOT to sell the genuine product (they instead call it seaweed but it’s really fried kale, etc).
If you can get the real thing, usually in the form of seaweed crisps, snacks, and so on, it’s the perfect keto food. And probably the most nutrient-dense there is (bioavailable iron, potassium, magnesium, etc).
4. Bok Choy (Pak Choi)
Bak Choy as it’s called in the USA, or “Pak Choi” in the UK is an extremely low-carb vegetable, which is typical of the green vegetables in general.
Similar to spinach, you have to flavour it if you want it to taste good.
Asparagus isn’t something I eat at all, but have tried. More importantly, the food is keto-friendly and one of the best as far as vegetables go.
It’s not something you eat in isolation compared to let’s say, a set of Tomatoes.
6. Swiss Chard
Similar to many green vegetables in this category, you need to flavour it to make it taste better. And you get the added benefits of high amounts of potassium (one of the highest) with the usual vitamins found in green veg.
Spinach is high in oxalates, and for me personally,e it causes upset stomach, stomach aches, and doesn’t feel good when it goes down the other end.
If you can tolerate spinach, it’s a perfect food with one of the highest amounts of magnesium for vegetables.
Another food that may or may not cause digestive problems. But if it’s a so-called “superfood” with good amounts of potassium, vitamin C, Calcium, and more.
Cooking it with butter works well like most veg.
Okra is a food I grew up with in a Jamaican family. It’s what we eat. And it happens to be keto-friendly and ranks high on a scale of best and worst vegetables.
It has some unique properties as well that are special to Okra.
The taste of Okra is much better than regular vegetables, but flavouring still helps (salt for example).
One of my favourite vegetables to eat when I decide to eat them. And one of the scarce sources of vitamin D3 found in vegetables.
Cucumber is high in water content, has plenty of vitamin C, and goes well with salad cream or mayonnaise (the latter is better for keto).
This is one of the cheapest foods on the list as far as keto foods go.
Lettuce is a good product for a keto way of living. It’s not something you eat in excess either, or have tons and tons of to meet serving requirements.
Salad cream or mayonnaise are the perfect combos.
13. Sweet Peppers
Sweet peppers are one of the highest vitamin C vegetables, and one of te tastiest as well. Despite it having better taste than others, it’s not so high in sugar or carbs.
It differs between the red, green, or yellow sweet peppers, but you’re good to go in general if you’re compatible with nightshade vegetables.
Like many vegetables, eggplant is loaded with potassium and has OK amounts of vitamin C, B6, and other nutrients.
It’s a nightshade vegetable that should be avoided if you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa. But otherwise, it goes well with your healthy keto meals.
15. Spring Onion
Spring onions as we call them in the UK are a type of onion, and one of the ones with less sugar and carbs per serving. Which matters a lot.
You get the benefits of onions too as far as healing properties, fighting inflammation, colds, and so on.
16. Brussel Sprouts
One of my favourite vegetables. Crunchy, pairs well with butter, salt, and so on. Very high in vitamin C, potassium, and even has some form of omega 3.
Mixing it with fatty foods will enhance the fat-soluble vitamins inside.
Parsley is something I tend to use as a seasoning, rather than buying or eating the food outright. But either way you do it you can’t go wrong.
Keto friendly and perfect for a low-carb vegetarian diet.
Tomatoes are another vegetable that tastes much better than others (botanically it’s a fruit).
It’s easy to eat these raw, and in fact, it’s better to do that. I can’t eat them often because they’re nightshade vegetables, but you can eat one or two big tomatoes and that will do you for the day as far as servings.
19. Green Beans
Green beans are the only food from the legumes family that is keto-friendly and can be eaten without fear of breaking ketosis.
Another product made for keto. Celery tastes good, so does swede, but of course this is when it’s flavoured as it has little taste otherwise.
This is more true for the swede than it is for the celery.
Broccoli is crunchy, and one of the most popular vegetables on the planet. Everyone brags about its health benefits and promotes it to death as a healthy food.
There is research to supposedly back it up of course, and you can’t overeat these so no worry of breaking ketosis (it’s low carb as well).
Cauliflower is right next to broccoli as far as a health food. They’re always paired together and even compared a lot.
I won’t say too much since you already know what to expect.
23. Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash isn’t bad at all for a ketogenic diet. Just make sure not to overeat or overload your plate with this botanical fruit (which is used as a vegetable).
A good amount of beta carotene (vitamin A) so eat it with butter, olive oil, or something similar.
Carrots are root vegetables. As you get into this category, the carbs and sugar starts to rise. You can eat carrots, but you have to portion them right.
It also has pre-vitamin A so eating with butter is to your advantage.
Onions are similar to carrots when it comes to how you should treat them. Don’t overdo it, don’t overload it in your pot, and portion them right.
Do that, and it’s ideal for a ketogenic lifestyle. Or a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle if that’s how you swing.
Edamame are immature soybeans, and maybe the best types of soy you can eat if you’re not terrified of eating soy products.
That being said, Edamame has quite a high amount of carbs for a “vegetable” type of food, despite having more protein and fat than any other vegetable by far.
I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re extremely disciplined with tiny portions.
27. Green Peas
Green peas are gorgeous. No denying the taste of this food. Everyone loves it. But as with things that everyone loves, it’s because of the sugar and carbs.
Not the absolute worst keto food, but it’s one you should eat with caution.
Beetroot is a step up from the others, being one of the worst keto foods and worst-ranked keto vegetables.
The sugar content is obvious. They’re sweet and I love it, which is why I don’t eat them (rarely if at all).
Anyone who’s serious about lowering carbs for health reasons needs to avoid this.
Sweetcorn is this far on the list for a reason. It’s loaded with sugar and carbs. In fact, it’s like a so-called healthy sweet vegetable alternative to actual sweets or chocolate.
If you mixed this with beetroot you’d be in trouble.
30. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are nice for obvious reasons. But again, if you’re strictly following a low-carbohydrate lifestyle it’s dumb to eat this on a regular basis.
Even a disciplined amount is no good.
31. Regular potatoes
And of course – regular potatoes. I used to eat 5 or 6 of these in one sitting. I suspect this is why I developed first-degree heart block because of the overdose of potassium.
Not to mention the carbs (and sugar) spiking my insulin to the moon, leading to necessary health problems.
If you eat this, it’s best done at family gatherings, the occasional (or rare) restaurant food which has its own problems, or when absolutely necessary because of a special event.
In the end, if you’re trying to:
- Reverse health conditions.
- Reverse heart problems.
- Reverse diabetes.
And things of that nature, while taking care of your health, you need to take this list seriously.
If you’re in perfect health you can get away with eating green peas, but potatoes in excess is always a bad idea.
Tailor these foods to your liking until you’re happy with the results.